Petit Collage Wild Rainforest 24-piece Floor Puzzle

(Petit Collage $18) Good-sized pieces with colorful animals make this a challenging floor puzzle for kids with some experience. There is no frame to use for clues, but fitting the animals together will help. There are lots of less than familiar animals ( as pictured here) so this is a good parent-child project for starters. Remember, kids like to do their puzzles many times, so do take the time to build this one with your child several times and talk about the animals pictured. Also, from the same maker, there's a 24-piece puzzle called enchanted woodland with more familiar animals such as a deer, bear, foxes, rabbit and raccoon. Marked 3 and up, we think these may be a better choice for old

Petit Collage Pop-Out Dinosaurs

(PetitCollage $12) Dinoholics will like this set of punch-out puzzles that feature four different dinosaurs made of cardboard that fit together and stand. Colorful and sturdy, once assembled they can be displayed or used for dramatic play. Marked 4 & up, although we know 4s will need help getting these together the first few times. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2017 Click here to purchase the product from

Sassy Peek a Boo Beads Rattle

(Sassy $5.99) A classic shaped rattle for baby to grab and explore. This rattle has a ball on one end, a teether handle with ridges to sooth sore gums, rings in the middle that rattle and hidden inside the ball, black and white beads that rattle and roll. Use it for early lap games for gazing and tracking. Later it will be enjoyed independently. Also fun, the Wonder Wheel Ring Rattle($5.99) An easy to grasp ring with three spinners inside. Activating this calls for some fine motor finger action, something baby begins to develop later. For beginner, this will be a toy for two handed play. The ring itself is fitted out with raised parts for teething on. Ages: infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Go

Sassy Developmental Playmat

(Sassy $49.99) Designed for newborns this new high contrast black and white mat has a soft velour-like finish with black and white crossbars that fasten in each corner. There are loops on the bars to hook on the five eye-catching toys for baby to gaze at. There’s one with a quiet chime inside, one with crinkle sounds, and another with a squeaker you can squeeze and yet another with primary colored ribbons surrounding a mirror that dangles. For tummy time there is also a black and white polka-dotted pillow on the mat itself. Lots of sensory learning here to see, hear and eventually touch. Newborns & up. Ages: infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2017 Click here to purchase the prod

Hasbro Monopoly Token Madness

(Hasbro $19.99) We hear the thimble is history— no longer a token for playing Monopoly. Small screens have replaced embroidery hoops and a whole lot of other traditional items. Not to worry, if you hurry you will find a double set of tokens in this year’s monopoly set. A set of silver traditional tokens (including the thimble) and set of golden tokens that look like the ones issued with their anniversary editions. Other than that there is no change in the game play, just more choices of tokens. 8 & up. Ages: Tweens, Teens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2017 Click here to purchase the product from

Young Scientists Club Sunny the Robot

(Young Scientists Club $29.99) Sunny the Robot is a light controlled “bug-like” creature that has to be assembled before it can be activated. It comes with clear step by step directions and there is also a video online for those that find they need more of a demo. That said, it does have a lot of wires that require fine motor skills as they are twisted together and connected to the springs. The motor needs to be placed with care to connect with the swivel rod that makes the wheels spin. The whole idea here is a hands-on building experiment that can be very exciting, since the end-product will actually work! Some adult help may be needed and you will need a small Philips screwdriver. Our test

K’nex Mighty Makers World Travels Building Set

(K'nex $39.99) Build a simple model of the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Majal, Empire State Building, a Pagoda, and other iconic buildings around the world. With long bendable rods, this kit combines building with a little geography that enlarges kids’ view of the world. Like all K’nex sets, this requires fine motor skills, patience to follow step by step directions and some hand strength. They used pastels and a girl on the box, although the projects are not especially girly-ish. But with the girl on the box and the colors, it’s pretty gender specific. Too bad they didn’t do this with more neutral color choices such as grays, whites and silver and gold, perhaps and with both a girl and boy on the

K’nex Education Swing Ride Building Set

(K’nex $39.99) You may have built ta K’nex Ferris Wheel back in the day. That’s still possible, but now there’s a new amusement park construction set, a motorized Swing Ride with 486 pieces. There are two other experiments that can be built and activated with the same materials. This is part of their STEM educational program that introduces kids to patterns, gears and the relationship between mass and speed. Like all K’nex construction sets these require fine motor skills and some hand strength to go along with following the step by step directions. They suggest these kits are for grades 3-5, we suspect it will be better for the upper range and beyond. For kids who take to K’nex, there are a

K’nex Levers and Pulleys Building Set

(K’nex $25) K’nex has been making experiment kits for schools for years. Now they have introduced smaller kits for the home market, sets like this 139-piece Levers and Pulleys construction kit with three different STEM activities that give kids a hands-on experience with building working machines. They also have a Wheels, Axles & inclined Planes kit and a Gears kit ($29.99) with directions for building 7 working gear models, as well. Like all K’nex construction sets these require fine motor skills and some hand strength to go along with following the step by step directions. They suggest these kits are for grades 3-5, we suspect it will be better for the upper range and beyond. For kids who

Sassy Squish and Chime Ball

(Sassy $6.99) A soft-shell ball with holes encloses the fabric chime ball, making it easier for tots to grasp. Lightweight enough so it will not hurt little hands, this multi-patterned ball has a nice chime sound when it is moved and will be a good choice for early games back and forth games of roly-poly and eventually for crawling and running after. Like most balls, this will have a longer play life than a lot of other toys as your baby’s locomotion skills develop. There are few better choices for active play than a ball and this one is scaled for beginners. SNAP: With the soft openings on the shell, this is easier to grab than most balls. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Awa

Hape High & Low Railway Set

(Hape $99) What an exciting wooden train set with its up and down roadways, bridges, and tall archways. For train lovers, this is the kind of set you buy after you have had the basic figure eight and they are ready for more complexity. That said, preschoolers are going to need more help with this elaborate set and learning how to build the elevated portions of track. The set comes with three 3-piece commuter style trains, tons of track, trees, two clocks, and other accessories. Marked for 3 & up, but we think this will be more like a choice for older 4-6 year olds. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2017 Click here to purchase the product from

Schleich North America Horse Club Riding Center

(Schleich $99) For young horse lovers this miniature setting is just the ticket to pretend. The stable building has green doors and pink window frames with stalls and paddocks for the horses. It comes with a horse and a colt but has room for many more. There’s plenty of food for the horses, a trainer, bales of hay. There are grooming tools and a blanket for the mare. Also in the same collection, a Pick-up truck with horse box ($59.99) that includes a horse, a male driver for the truck and female handler for the horse. These products come with clear directions and do require some construction pieces that snap together with ease, though adult help will be needed. Once these pieces are assemble

Mattel Walk & Potty Pup Barbie

(Mattel $19.99) As city dwellers we applaud the built-in lesson that comes with the new Barbie Walk & Potty Pup. Not only can Barbie’s pup actually walk—miracle of miracles—the pup comes with pieces of ready-made poop. True, you need fine motor skills to load the poop into a saddle like appliance that rests on pup’s back. Now, hit the pup’s tail and YES the pup poops on demand! And if that isn’t enough—this amazing Barbie, wearing stylishly short, short denim pants and a striped tee, comes equipped with a shovel and picker-upper for cleaning up after her pup. Of course, these days folks carry plastic baggies instead of pooper scoopers. But we hope this toy will reinforce an idea that needs t

Kathe Kruse Monkey Carlo Dangle XXL

(Kathe Kruse/Hape $99.99) Indeed, the XXL is more than an armful of fun. Monkey Carlo is a giant velvety grey with white chest and face, red and white checked gingham lined ears and feet, and a very long tail. He has all stitched features, which makes him safe enough for toddlers, who will like lugging him about. This kind of oversized creature makes a nice decorative centerpiece in a nursery, but not for the crib where it could be as dangerous as a pillow to a young child or an up and over stepping stone that could catapult an older child out of the crib by accident. That said, this kind of big lovable soft doll will no doubt be a long-term play companion—one that is as big as a three year

Klutz Circuit Clay Book & Kit

(Klutz 21.99) A hands-on and playful way to learn about circuits. Each of the fifteen projects in the book show step-by-step ways that mix art and science; it’s a true STEM choice that makes an abstract idea concrete, real, and entertaining, too. The book comes with five colors of special conductive and insulating clay, 20 LEDS, a battery pack, and fifty paper pieces for decorating clay creations that will light up. Even reluctant readers will dig in to master the directions for making light up UFO’s, spaceships, dragons, astronauts, flashlights and many other items. Marked for 8 & up, we think 8s and even 9s and 10s will need someone to guide them through the first few activities. Once they

Serabeena Glittery Treasure Boxes

(Serabeena $14.99) Ideal for gift giving or party favors, a set of six little boxes in a variety of shapes that kids can decorate with the six confetti pens loaded with glittery shapes laden with glue. Before the glue dries add some of the puffy silver stars or colorful rhinestones. Younger kids will need help getting the glue guards off the pens. You’ll want to cover the work area and stick some smocks over their clothes before they begin work on their treasure box creations. Once dry, the glitter stays stuck under the glue. 6 and up, up, up. Serabeena also sells confetti pens in a set without the boxes. They would be useful for other craft projects. Ages: Early school years, Tweens Oppenhe

Peaceable Kingdom Monkey Around Game

(Peaceable Kingdom $17.99) Older twos and threes will love this beginners game because it’s full of action. Players take turns doing the silly actions written on the monkey playing cards. On each turn there’s an opportunity for giggles and wiggles as players do tricks like balancing the fabric beanbag banana (that comes with the game) on their heads or hiding the banana under their shirts. Some of the actions are as simple as spinning around or shaking hands. It's a game that develops listening skills and language as well as the fun of one on one time with an adult or older sibling, who can read. After doing the action, the card is placed on the board and the first player to get five cards s

Creativity for Kids Pretty Paper Pajaki

(Creativity for Kids $20) What’s a Pajaki? It’s what they call a paper chandelier in Poland. (pronounced pah YONK i) Put it together and it’s not just colorful, it’s supposed to bring good luck! The assembled end-product is as big as 36” and it will take days to complete. Originally it was made with straw and scrap papers, but this kit includes colorful straw beads, 2-sided paper shaped, velvet shapes, yarn for pom-poms, a pom-pom maker, a two-sided base, sticky dots, and a hook for hanging the finished product. There's a lot of repetition in making a construction like this one and lots of little pieces to keep in order. The directions are clear, but they start out suggesting you spread the

Faber-Castell My World of Art

(Faber-Castell $20.99) Decorative globes are fashionable table top items for the home. This crafty kit can be used to make a unique globe with precut stick-on art as well as watercolors, gel paint, acrylic paints, and duo-tip markers. The globe is relatively easy to assemble on its stand, the best place for painting and sticking on the designs. There’s no pattern that must be followed. Some kids will want to place the continents in their proper places, but not to worry. It's also a sphere that can be used for creating a world like no other…a world of art that’s purely imagined. 7 & up. Ages: Early school years Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2017 Click here to purchase the product fr

Cuddle+Kind Sebastian the Lamb

(Cuddle+Kind $68) Newest of the knitted 20” dolls from Cuddle + Kind are two adorable lambs. Sebastian the Lamb is done up in blue shorts with blue suspenders and Lucy the Lamb is wears off-white with pink, orange, and mustard-color dots plus a pink bow around her neck. Both have a lot of curly-twirly twists on their heads— all part of the stitching. Their features are also embroidered on, so there are no doo-dads that come off, making them safe enough for all ages. Like other dolls in this collection, they are handmade cotton knit huggables made in Peru by women artisans. For every doll sold the company donates 10 meals for children through the World Food Program. For more info visit: Cuddl

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Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.